Image Search Branding Opportunities

Images shown in regular search result pages are seldom clicked, but offer great marketing opportunities. So how do you get any attention for your name with such a small image and nobody clicking it? This article describes how commercial websites can benefit the most from image search.

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Google Image Search

Most search queries in Google image search aren’t very competitive. Well ranked images are seldom the result of great SEO and often sheer luck. The basics of image search are however easy.

Using your keyword in the URL/image name, including it in the alt-/title attribute and placing it within keyword rich textual content is often enough for high ranking. Defining ornamental images as CSS backgrounds makes all the remaining img-tags stand out more. Images on well optimized pages with a lot of link value have the highest chance of scoring.

Only the first 4 to 7 images will appear in regular search results and only when your queries show images, so make sure you outrank everything else.

Branding the Image

Generic images for generic keywords don’t show that one of the images belongs to you. Adding some big logo to the image would really make it stand out more and the branding value of your logo high within the search results can be enormous.

Regretfully this also means the same images, including the logo, should be present on your website. Because it’s probably already clear to your visitor that the image is yours, you probably want to leave the logo from there.

What is more important? Slightly bothering your visitors with an additional logo or getting your name out there through image search?

Overflow Hidden

One method of getting the best of both worlds is by hiding part of the image when it is shown on your website. By using a code like this: <div style="width:150px;height:183px;overflow:hidden;"><img src="iphone-5.jpg" alt="iPhone 5" title="iPhone 5" /></div> you use a slightly smaller container for the image and overflow hidden hides just the bottom part.

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This is how the image shows on the website.

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This is how it shows in Google results for “iPhone 5” (see third image result)

Measuring Results

The hardest part about image SEO is convincing a website owner to invest in it. Most SEO can be measured in forms of ROI, but branding SEO makes this much harder. Branding SEO should therefore be seen as a form of CPM (like banner advertising) with great targeting potential.

With keyword search volumes from several tools you can calculate the likely amount of impressions before you take any effort. Google Webmaster Tools allows you to see how many impressions, and for which keywords, you really received once you start ranking. Visit the search result pages to see if you stand out of the crowd on them.

SEO PR

Branding isn’t the only potential for image search. Images are one of the first striking search results on a result page and they’re more effective to evoke emotion. This makes them perfect for regular PR.

Well informed consumers search Google for your products and company reputation. Images outside your own website can be optimized as well.

Image search results offer many possibilities and the competition is still fairly inactive. Become an image SEO expert and benefit from the advantage while you still can.